Mumbai: The Bombay High Court on Monday imposed a fine of Rs 1 lakh on an NGO for filing a "frivolous" PIL.
A bench of Chief Justice Pradeep Nandrajog and Bharati Dangre dismissed the PIL and directed NGO 'Abhivyakti', which has its main office in neighbouring Raigad district, to pay the fine to the High Court Legal Aid Services' Fund within next two weeks.
The NGO, through its counsel Subhash Jha, filed the PIL last year, claiming that the City and Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO), planning body for the neighbouring Navi Mumbai township, was dumping construction debris in a wetland area.
The construction debris and garbage were being dumped in an area of six hectares in Sectors 18 and 19 of Kharghar, which has a pond and a wetland, the PIL alleged.
However, the CIDCO informed the court that the area was neither a wetland nor a pond.
The planning body said it was a privately-owned land that was legally acquired by state authorities for some construction work.
The only water in the area was that which collected in puddles during heavy rains, the CIDCO told the high court.
The court noted that the NGO initially claimed the area in question was a protected wetland, and then "changed track" to claim it was a natural water body, and eventually told the court the area was a rain water pond.
However, the state documents proved the land was none of those, it observed.
It is clear that the PIL was "motivated" and aimed at "stalling development work in Navi Mumbai", the court said.
"The PIL claimed to be filed by raising the boogie of environment being damaged and annexing Google images obtained during the monsoon season," the bench said.
"We hold the PIL to be frivolous and dismiss the same imposing costs," it said.